'Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has gone over the top with minister sex ban'

'Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has gone over the top with new rules on relationships'

Malcolm Turnbull says Barnaby Joyce won't fill his role next week

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has gone over the top with his rules on relationships as they are a human right, according to an employment law specialist.

Turnbull has said that he will ban ministers and their staff from having sex, after it was revealed his deputy Barnaby Joyce had an affair with a former staffer. Joyce is to take leave of absence and will not act as the Prime Minister whilst Turnbull visits America next week, despite both claiming no current rules have been broken.

Ronnie Fox, an employment law specialist from Fox and Partners, told Jamie East and Melanie Sykes: "Saying no sex between ministers and member of staff I just think has gone way over the top.

"It’s a basic principle of human rights that people can have relationships with whom they like." He said that, in fact, workplaces are "the most popular place for forming relationships.

"In the UK you can probably say that the senior person mustn’t have a relationship with a junior person without informing somebody, or perhaps rearranging the reporting line. You could say they mustn't be seen kissing and hugging and touching each other in the office."

"Nobody can defend sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation, stuff like that, people abusing a senior position to have sex with a junior member of staff. But we’re not talking about that, what we’re talking about is a right to have a relationship with somebody at work and if it doesn’t harm anybody, why should it be prohibited?"

Listen to the full interview above

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